Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4)

Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4) - Richelle Mead 1.5 star—the ending kind of made it close to okay, but I can't really give it 2 stars.

Mostly, my reaction was "what have you done to the characters? Am I still reading the same series?" I remember how "Frostbite" made me think that there was really good potential for Rose's growth; but here, it's back to square one, and even lower than that.

The novel left me with the feeling that it was but a filler. The first half was completely off-pace for me. It takes ages for Rose to get to the point where she actually has a chance to do what she came to do. They were several things I really couldn't wrap my mind around:

* Too much retelling of the previous events in the beginning. I know that people may forget something in between two books, but why not let readers do their job and remember the storyline (or pick the previous novel again for a refresher)? I started skimming early in my reading, which isn't a good sign.

* The flashbacks/memories about specific moments between Rose and Dimitri. We never got to see those in the previous installment (I read it one month ago; I might have missed/forgotten one event since then, but certainly not a whole string of them). They made R & D look like a couple who had been together for years, not for a few weeks or even days only. It recast their whole relationship in a light that had never been there for starters, and changed the dynamics between them.

* Characters' reactions. Rose, first, who bcomes everything she despises and doesn't seem to realise what a big deal deal this is. She used to be strong; now she is weak and whiny. She used to have a purpose; now she throws everything to the dogs for something she fails to do. Twice. This makes her quite a hypocrite, all the more because she also lets some things happen, judge them as "bad", yet doesn't lift a finger. I'm thinking about the incident with Viktoria almost ending up a blood whore... not to mention Rose becoming exactly that, too. I like the concept of "good/strong person being faced with darkness and temporarily succumbing to it"; however, here, I found the execution weak and out of character. Also, in the end, it didn't even make Rose stronger. And Christian. What the hell, Christian? We barely see you throughout the whole book, then you break up with Lissa for acting weird, and when the whole situation is solved and everybody gets to know why she was acting that way, you don't seem to take it into account—at all. Way to create drama where there shouldn't be any.

In fact, most of the characters were totally out of themselves, come to think of it. (Except for Adrian, who'll probably keep on getting the shaft again and again.) Expected from Dimitri, sure, but the others? No, definitely not.

* New characters are introduced to "replace" the ones who remained in St. Vladimir's, yet they weren't that interesting nor useful. They seemed to be here just to fill a gap, and to be discarded as soon as the had played their (small) role. Maybe if we were to see them again, and if they became important later... but I doubt we'll see Avery and her guys much again.

* Rose and Lissa being away from each other: we only get to know what happens to Lissa through Rose's connection with her, and this unfortunately makes those sections appear as description, not action. Before starting reading the book, I thought that said action moving away from St. Vladimir's was a good thing; but the way it unfolded, I quickly reconsidered. This was just too artificial to work for me.

* Negative underlying messages. The lesson I got from this story was that "true love makes you one hell of a weakling". Why would this make anyone want to ever fall in love, I wonder.

The novel picked up in the last third/last 25%, which made up a little for the rest. Only I wish I had been spared the first 60% or so.

I somewhat still want to know what's going to happen in the next book, which is definitely weird. However, if I do read it, I really hope it's going to be better than this one.